Now that the kids are back in school, it’s a great time to get work projects finally completed.
Whether that means being at the computer all day at work, paying bills and catching up with paperwork in your home office or spending long hours at the craft table, sitting for a long time can reek havoc on your back, your eyes, and your concentration level. Here are a few tips for keeping comfortable and healthy while working:
Make sure you’re comfortable. Always use a good quality desk chair to assure you are sitting in a comfortable position. The chair should provide ample lumbar support for your back, which is crucial for keeping good posture and body alignment. Make sure the chair is the proper height for the desk or table you are sitting at. A rolling, adjustable chair is best for overall ergonomic movement and therefore a worthwhile investment.
Take breaks. Get up for a two-four minute break every hour and do another activity, even if it’s just to get up and make a cup of tea, or step up and down a staircase a few times. Changing activities will stimulate your brain and actually make you more focused and productive when you return to your desk.
Give your eyes a rest. For at least 30 seconds, every hour, on the hour, look away from your desktop, especially if you’re working on a computer…and gaze out a window toward the horizon. Varying the focal points of your eyes from close-up to distance can ease eye-strain and lessen fatigue.
Limit interruptions. Put your phone answering machine on so you don’t have to keep jumping up and suddenly running to the phone, which can invite accidental tripping and pull you away from creative ideas that were brewing! Consider putting a sign on your office door at even at your desk that you are not available until a particular time.
Relax your arms. Keep your forearms level with your desktop to avoid neck cramping and back strain.
Turn up the lights. Good lighting is essential and can actually increase your productivity 30 percent or more. Efficient lighting can also reduce eye strain and headaches, while increasing your vision, creativity and focus.
Keep office equipment convenient. Proper placement of the computer and the telephone should be placed strategically for what feels best for you, whether you are right or left handed. If you consistently reach for the phone with your right hand and it’s placed on the left side of your desk, this could strain your back/neck or arm.
Keep cool. Check the ventilation in your office. To keep you awake and attentive, the room should be slightly cooler than warmer. If it’s a nice, breezy day outside, open a window or run a small fan in the room to keep air circulating.
Keep hydrated. Make sure you have water within reach as you begin your desk project, because you’re less likely to respond to your body’s natural thirst mechanism, once you are immersed in your work. Drinking ample water throughout the day reduces fatigue and helps keep your concentration.
Keep organized. Make sure your desktop is clear and organized to keep you relaxed and focused. “Clear Desk, Clear Mind.” It’s simply less stressful when there is ample work space and your office supplies are neatly within reach.